I’m wearing my Hiro jersey.
Pop over to the Ravelry thread for an opportunity to win the Pebbles and Pathways pattern.
In this episode I’m wearing my Treysta jersey.
This morning I came across a advert for eco-friendly biros, and was left wondering why you wouldn’t just use a pencil. I’ve always been rather fond of a pencil – so much easier to put things right or just change your mind. I won’t be buying eco-friendly pens, but the ad did remind me to pop in here to update you on the unsustainable textile quandary.
You might remember that I was concerned about the micro-particles that are released from non-biodegradable textiles as they are laundered, and their impact on marine life. The questions I raised were about the textiles already in my house, and the best way forward.
Having done an afternoon of research, and consulted the hive mind (that’s you), I came up with nothing – well almost nothing. The answer seemed to be ‘it’s complicated’. The problem is that these textiles even exist at all. Once they’ve been manufactured, they’re in the environment, and there is just no getting rid of them.
With that in mind, I intend to make the most of my polar fleece dressing gown. Using and reusing it for as long as possible seems to be the best way forward. But what about the micro-particles washing in to waterways? I’ve decided to try a product called Guppyfriend. This is a washing bag that is supposed to contain these harmful fibres, so that you can scoop them out and pop them in the bin. I haven’t tried the bag yet, but will say two things. Some people will find the £32 price tag prohibitive, and most stockists are sold out. I can only hope that there will be other solutions that are more accessible. I am cynical about the effectiveness of the bag; however, I was a Brownie sworn to do my best, and right now that’s a fancy laundry bag.
I had thought that buying new things would be less of a problem, however even that is proving to be more of a shift in thinking than I’d anticipated. Finding yoga leggings wasn’t a problem. Yoga buffs are an environmentally conscious lot, and finding clothing with explicit green credentials wasn’t too difficult. Buying fabric for a work project was a little more problematic. I only needed a metre of cotton, so popped along to the quilting shop to buy local. There are other environmental issues around cotton, but at least this less thoughtful purchase is biodegradable. The item that really caught me out was a fabric advent calendar that I purchased on line without giving it a second thought. Hopefully it shouldn’t need washing.
My transition to using textiles with a lower environmental impact isn’t going to be as simple as picking up a pencil. This is going to be a journey that involves acquiring a consciousness and conscientiousness around everyday items and choices I currently take for granted.
I’d love to hear how your managing your man made laundry, and if you’re trying anti-micro-particle products. What have you found that works, or doesn’t work? And how are you finding the transition to using only textiles made from natural fibres? Are you finding there’s lots of choice, or have you slipped up like me?
There is a 10% discount on everything at Shoplouleigh until 18 November. The new enamel pins for the Stash Appreciation Society are available now.
Today I’m wearing my Swallowtail Shawl, and a cardigan that my mother knitted (for herself).
This week I finished a pair of socks, and another Buddy the Bear. This is the link for the tutorial I use for sewing soft toy feet.
There are twenty-five more sleeps till we all get to open the first window of our advent calendars! If, like me, you happen to be a knitter and have a yarn advent calendar you have good reason to be excited.
This year I’m hosting an advent calendar KAL over in the Louleigh Ravelry group. Members of the group have been swapping mini skeins all year in preparation for this KAL; however, you are welcome to join no matter how you came by your calendar. All projects are welcome too. You don’t have to be knitting scrappy frankensocks.
It is my tradition to make advent socks to wear on Christmas day. I share this tradition with a very good friend. She calls me on the first of December every year to ask how many rows of each colour she should knit. My friend can’t be the only knitter who isn’t sure how to work this out, so this year I’ve put together the Stripe-O-Meter. The Stripe-O-Meter is meant to be used along side my Favourite Sock pattern, and my Favourite Toe-up Sock pattern, however you can still use it with your go-to vanilla sock pattern.
I’m delighted that so many people want to join in this winter knitting fun with me, and hope you have everything you need to start on 1 December.
This morning I hand stitched the last little bit of binding on the Charm Pack Cherry quilt. I really love the finished quilt, and enjoyed making it, despite the long hiatus between putting the top together and making the sandwich. The break between staring and finishing this project coincided with an influx in media coverage about plastic pollution. Most of the issues these programmes raise are not news to me, but this new conversation highlighted a few things I wasn’t aware of.
Last year at Guild we had a wonderful talk about Japanese textiles from Japan Crafts, and I picked up a charm pack of beautiful Japanese prints. The Charm Pack Cherry Quilt is a fun, free pattern from The Fat Quarter Shop, and has a helpful video to accompany the pattern. It actually calls for two plain charm packs, and two patterned charm packs. I ordered a second charm pack, and made the plain squares from stashed linen. The linen turned out to be tricky to work with. The fabric is loosely woven, and likes to move about while I’m cutting and sewing. I don’t think there was a true right angle in the whole quilt by the time I finished. Having said that, it’s a very beginner friendly pattern if you use a nice stable quilting cotton.
The wadding is Quilters Dream Green, which is made from recycled bottles. I quite like this wadding because it’s durable and easy care, and I had thought that giving a plastic bottle a second, longer life was the right thing to do. But it’s this element that has got me thinking.
There are quite a few of these types of textiles in my home. Fleecy dog blankets, polyester pillow inners, microfibre cleaning cloths… I’ve tried to choose items that are easy care AND have a long life.
Recently I’ve learned that the tiny particles that these textiles release when washed are as damaging, possibly more, to the environment and wildlife than a complete plastic bag floating about in the sea. This revelation has thrown me into a bit of a quandary.
It’s simple enough to be thoughtful about the new textiles I buy, but what’s the best thing to do about my polar fleece dressing gown (now 16 years old), and the six year old microfibre cloths I use to clean the house each week?
Usually, I’d send unwanted clothing to the charity shop, but that just continues the cycle. What happens to textiles that go in the rag bin at the refuse centre? Is it a good idea to have these items shredded for insulation or mattress stuffing? Is the best option just to bury these textiles in landfill and hope they’ll be less harmful down there? At least they aren’t floating about in the sea. Or is the answer to keep using these items for as long as possible and not repeat the mistake?
This problem is obviously much bigger than me. While it’s apparent that we all need to do our bit, this is another situation where it’s difficult to know what that bit should be.
Are you wondering the same thing about the man made textiles in your life? What have you decided to do? Have you found any useful information or projects about the use and reuse of man made fibre? I’d love the hear.